Viruses play critical role in evolution and survival of the species

As the world scrambles to control the growing COVID-19 coronavirus pandemic, new research in Nature Structural & Molecular Biology shows viruses also play a key evolutionary role in mammals' ability to reproduce and survive.

Unexpected viral 'fossils' found in vertebrate genomes

Over millions of years, retroviruses, which insert their genetic material into the host genome as part of their replication, have left behind bits of their genetic material in vertebrate genomes. In a recent study, published ...

Retroviruses are re-writing the koala genome and causing cancer

The koala retrovirus (KoRV) is a virus which, like other retroviruses such as HIV, inserts itself into the DNA of an infected cell. At some point in the past 50,000 years, KoRV has infected the egg or sperm cells of koalas, ...

Ancient virus defends koalas against new viral attacks

The human genome is riddled with endogenous retroviruses—little pieces of degraded and generally harmless retrovirus DNA passed down through the generations, along with our own genetic information. Because most endogenous ...

HIV's ancestors 'plagued first mammals'

(PhysOrg.com) -- The retroviruses which gave rise to HIV have been battling it out with mammal immune systems since mammals first evolved around 100 million years ago - about 85 million years earlier than previously thought, ...

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